What Really happened to Martin Bormann?

Hitler’s buddy and Nazi bigwig martin Bormann disappeared at the end of WWII. He was last seen attempting to escape from the Fuhrerbunker in Berlin, after Hitler shot himself, and the Russian Army was closing in. His body wasn’t found until 1973, when a road construction crew unearthed a skull and bones under a railway trestle outside Berlin. The skull was determined to be Bormann’s but the pathologist found that the skull and bones were enclosed in a sticky red clay, quite unlike the surrounding sol…and characteristic of a region in Paraguay.
The HISTORY CHANNEL had a piece on last night about this…they theorized that Bomanngot out of Germany, and got to Paraguay via Italy. He died in paraguay sometime around 1958, and was buried in a local cemetary.
Why would anyone have bothered to exhume Bormann, and rebury the skeleton back in germany?
DNA analysis proved the skull to be Bormann’s, but the family had the bones cremated and the ashes scattered. Anyway, they interviewed a Paraguan police official who said that he knew Bormann and had talked to him many times.
So was Paraguay a big hangout for ex-Nazis? How did they get there?

In a screenplay, Roger Ebert suggested he may have gone undercover as a butler & was shot dead in a killing spree by his employer, producer Ronnie "Z-Man’ Barzell, after going over the edge when his transgenderism was revealed after a sex&drug costume party.

That should read-

To start, a couple of minor corrections.

The remains under the Invalidenstrasse were actually uncovered on the 7th and 8th December 1972. While the results of the official examination of them weren’t announced until April 1973, the possibility that Bormann had been found became public immediately. Nor can the area be described as “outside” Berlin: it’s very central, being barely across the river from the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate.

My understanding is that the family refused to accept the skeleton as his and so it was the West German authorities who cremated it and disposed of the ashes in the North Sea. According to Gitta Sereny’s interviews with the eldest son Martin Jr. (see her The German Trauma, 2000; Penguin, 2001, p306), their main reservation was that their father had once broken his collarbone and there was no such old injury visible on the skeleton.

Aside from the dental evidence that was the main basis in 1973 and the recent DNA tests, there are other problems with planting the body if the suggestion is that he escaped, lived in South America for some time and is only later reinterred in Berlin. For instance, the height and age of the skeleton were also a match for Bormann in 1945.
The circumstances in which the bodies were found was also convincing in its own right. Particularly given the Stern excavations based on the memory of Albert Krumnow in 1965, which just missed them. Prior to this, I’m not sure anybody planting a body postwar would have gone for this spot - or indeed have expected anybody ever to dig here, for whatever reason. After 1965, you’ve the problems of knowing exactly what had already been dug and secretly burying a body right next to the Berlin Wall. There’s also the issue of Stumpfegger’s body alongside. That’s rather difficult to arrange.

The claim about the clay is new to me and the only page Google throws up is this one. But the permutations spun by the Bormann Industry over the decades are such that there’s ample proof that people are willing to invent any number of stories to keep the mystery alive.
As an example of how people have previously tried to explain away the Berlin bodies, take Ladislas Farago and his fantastical Aftermath (1974; Avon, 1975) - which that page above is also relying on. Barely a month before the bodies were found, Farago and the Daily Express had published one of Fleet Street’s most legendary rotten exclusives: photos of Bormann in Argentina. Once it turned out that it wasn’t him at all, Farago and the Express fell out. By the time he came to launch Aftermath amidst much publicity, Farago had to dismiss the new forensic findings because he’s now claiming to have actually met Bormann face-to-face in Bolivia. His big argument is that the German police have issued photos of four different skulls, all supposedly Bormann’s. But one only has to look at the three photos reproduced in his own book to see what’s going on. Two photos show clearly different, rather distinctive skulls. The third photo shows the same two skulls side by side on a table. Umm, so that’d actually be Bormann and Stumpfegger’s skulls. His attempts to claim discrepencies in what are the same skull in different photos are little better: it’s just slightly differently lit in the two pictures.
More generally, post-war South America was clearly just heaving with people willing to claim that they’d seen Martin Bormann, especially if you were a bestselling American writer like Farago with cash to flash about. Any last piece of hearsay was grist to Farago’s mill and he credulously believed most of what he was told. Robert Harris is right (in Selling Hitler, 1986; Faber, 1991, p79) about Farago’s horrible prose, but Aftermath is readable in a sort of high-70s Nazi-thriller-pomp sort of way. It’s just that I wouldn’t trust anything in it, unless I could independently check it. It’s riddled with mistakes.

Again, there really never was any shortage of people claiming to know where Bormann was or even knowing him - down to the recentish fable about Ian Fleming springing him from besieged Berlin to live out a retirement in the English countryside. (In this version, the body in Berlin is a German POW medically transformed into a double by British intelligence.)

At least of those who went on the run and successfully evaded capture for at least several years, most probably did wind up in South America, though the Middle East was another option. Why Paraguay often gets mentioned is that the Stroessner regime were just the sort of people to turn a blind eye to someone’s Nazi past. However, of the major figures whose wanderings in South America are well documented - say Eichmann, Mengele, Stangl and Barbie - only Mengele spent any time in the country, roughly from May 1959 to October 1960. While the stay was relatively brief, the Paraguan government still granted him citizenship despite knowing that he was a wanted war criminal. Even so, the capture of Eichmann in Argentina prompted him to keep moving, so he left for Brazil. This worked, in that for the remainder of his life the general assumption that he’d still be in Paraguay kept investigators off the actual trail.
The harder question is how many of the smaller fry wound up in the different South American countries. It’s obviously something that’s difficult to put numbers on.
As for how they got there, the basic pattern is that you had to get a new identity. Given the sheer upheaval of the times, this wasn’t so difficult. From this, one could usually obtain a visa to South America and one then travelled via normal means using these papers.
There’s also Cecil’s column on What’s the true story on South American Nazis.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that the vast majority of those who played significant roles in the Nazi party and their atrocities did not become fugitives in this sense. Most were rounded up at the end of the war, interned, de-nazified and lived out their days in Germany. Despite significant efforts, notably by the West German government in later years, very few of these were ever punished.

Read “Martin Bormann - Nazi in Exile” by Paul Manning. He was one of the WWII journalist in the group that included Walter Cronkite and Andy Rodney. Also listen to an interview by Dave Emory with Manning’s son, Peter Manning, at http://emory.kfjc.org/archive/ftr/100_199/f-125a.mp3. Unfortunately for him and his family he wrote about what really happened to the Nazis and did not have the fabulous career like the two named above.

Thanks for reviving the thread and the link.
As part of my recent reading, I learned that after the German defeat/stalemate at the Battle of Kursk (August 1943), Bormann never allowed public release of photographs of himself.
Presumably, he saw the writing on the wall, and was planning an exit strategy.
Why he was caught in Berlin (during the Russian Invasion) is a mystery.

It’s a mystery that he was in the bunker until after Hitler’s suicide and was killed while trying to escape through front-line fighting in the center of Berlin? He was Hitler’s man. He had no base of support but for Hitler. The only mystery to me is why he didn’t commit suicide along with Goebbels.

Actually, I believe Martin Bormann converted to LDS and became a doorkeeper at the Salt Lake City Tabernacle.